Die amerikanische Hand im Syrienkrieg

Syrien Zwei Artikel von Jonathan Marshall in Consortium News zeigen einmal mehr, dass die USA einen großen Teil der Schuld am syrischen Bürgerkrieg und am Aufstieg des IS tragen
Bei diesem Beitrag handelt es sich um ein Blog aus der Freitag-Community

Zwei Artikel von Jonathan Marshall in Consortium News werfen ein interessantes Licht auf den Beginn des Bürgerkriegs in Syrien. Es zeigt sich, dass die USA einen großen Teil der Schuld an dem syrischen Bürgerkrieg mit seinen 100.000 Toten, Millionen Flüchtlingen, alptraumartigen Zerstörungen sowie dem Vormarsch des islamistischen Terrorismus tragen. Schon lange wurde auf einen „regime change“ in Syrien hingearbeitet. Dabei waren fast alle Mittel recht.

Hier werden Auszüge aus den beiden Artikeln wiedergegeben. Es empfiehlt sich die vollständige Lektüre unter den angegebenen Links.

The US Hand in the Syrian Mess

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/20/the-us-hand-in-the-syrian-mess/

July 20, 2015

Neocons and the mainstream U.S. media place all the blame for the Syrian civil war on President Bashar al-Assad and Iran, but there is another side of the story in which Syria’s olive branches to the U.S. and Israel were spurned and a reckless drive for “regime change” followed, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

Almost from the start, Assad was marked by the George W. Bush administration for “regime change.” Then, in the early years of Barack Obama’s presidency, there were some attempts at diplomatic engagement, but shortly after a civil conflict broke out in 2011, the legacy of official U.S. hostility toward Syria set in motion Washington’s disastrous confrontation with Assad which continues to this day.

Thus, the history of the Bush administration’s approach toward Syria is important to understand. Shortly after 9/11, former NATO Commander Wesley Clark learned from a Pentagon source that Syria was on the same hit list as Iraq. As Clark recalled, the Bush administration “wanted us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under our control.”

Sure enough, in a May 2002 speech titled “Beyond the Axis of Evil,” Under Secretary of State John Bolton named Syria as one of a handful of “rogue states” along with Iraq that “can expect to become our targets.” Assad’s conciliatory and cooperative gestures were brushed aside.

Syria’s opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its suspected involvement in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri deepened the administration’s hostility toward Damascus.

Covertly, Washington began collaborating with Saudi Arabia to back Islamist opposition groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, according to journalist Seymour Hersh. One key beneficiary was said to be Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian vice president who defected to the West in 2005. In March 2006, Khaddam joined with the chief of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood to create the National Salvation Front, with the goal of ousting Assad.

Meanwhile, the Assad regime was striving mightily to reduce its international isolation by reaching a peace settlement with Israel. It began secret talks with Israel in 2004 in Turkey and by the following year “had reached a very advanced form and covered territorial, water, border and political questions,” according to historian Gabriel Kolko.

Historian Gabriel Kolko noted: “The Bush Administration’s role in scuttling any peace accord was decisive. C. David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, sat in at the final meeting [and] two former senior CIA officials were present in all of these meetings and sent regular reports to Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. The press has been full of details on how the American role was decisive, because it has war, not peace, at the top of its agenda.”

Isolating Assad

In March 2007, McClatchy broke a story that the Bush administration had “launched a campaign to isolate and embarrass Syrian President Bashar Assad. . . . The campaign, which some officials fear is aimed at destabilizing Syria, has been in the works for months.

Attempting once again to break the impasse, Syria’s ambassador to the United States called for talks to achieve a full peace agreement with Israel in late July 2008.

Three days later, Israel responded by sending a team of commandos into Syria to assassinate a Syrian general as he held a dinner party at his home on the coast. A top-secret summary by the National Security Agency called it the “first known instance of Israel targeting a legitimate government official.”

Just two months later, U.S. military forces launched a raid into Syria, ostensibly to kill an al-Qaeda operative, which resulted in the death of eight unarmed civilians.

Despite these many provocations, Syria continued to negotiate with Israel through Turkish intermediaries. By late 2008, according to journalist Seymour Hersh, “Many complicated technical matters had been resolved, and there were agreements in principle on the normalization of diplomatic relations.

Israeli Sabotage

The brief war ended in January, just before President Obama’s inauguration. Assad told Hersh that despite his outrage at Israel “doing everything possible to undermine the prospects for peace … we still believe that we need to conclude a serious dialogue to lead us to peace.” The ruler of Qatar confirmed, “Syria is eager to engage with the West, an eagerness that was never perceived by the Bush White House. Anything is possible, as long as peace is being pursued.”

Of Obama, Assad said “We are happy that he has said that diplomacy — and not war — is the means of conducting international policy.” And he offered to be an ally of the United States against the growing threat of al-Qaeda and Islamist extremism, which had become major forces in Iraq but had not yet taken hold in Syria.

Assad’s hopes died stillborn. The new government of Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which took office in March 2009, steadfastly opposed any land-for-peace deal with Syria. And the Obama administration lacked the clout or the will to take Israel on.

President Obama did follow through on promises to engage with Syria after a long period of frozen relations. He sent representatives from the State Department and National Security Council to Damascus in early 2009; dispatched envoy George Mitchell three times to discuss a Middle East peace settlement; nominated the first ambassador to Damascus since 2005.

However, Obama also continued covert funding to Syrian opposition groups.

Syria, meanwhile, rebuffed Washington’s demands to drop its support for Iran and for Hezbollah and reacted with frustration at the administration’s refusal to lift economic sanctions.

In August 2011, following critical reports from the United Nations and human rights organizations about the regime’s responsibility for killing and abusing civilians, President Obama joined European leaders in demanding that Assad “face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people” and “step aside.” (In fact, a majority of Syrians polled in December 2011 opposed Assad’s resignation.)

Washington imposed new economic sanctions, prompting Syria’s U.N. ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, to assert that the United States “is launching a humanitarian and diplomatic war against us.” Obama’s policy, initially applauded by interventionists until he failed to send troops or major aid to rebel groups, opened the door to support from the Gulf States and Turkey for Islamist forces.

The Rise of the Salafists

As early as the summer of 2012, a classified Defense Intelligence Agency report concluded, “The salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq, later the Islamic State]” had become “the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

As Vice President Joseph Biden later admitted, “The fact of the matter is . . . there was no moderate middle. . . . [O]ur allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. . . . They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and . . . thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis.”

Recalling Israel’s folly in cultivating Islamist rivals to Fatah (notably Hamas), Jacky Hugi, an Arab affairs analyst for Israeli army radio, recently made the remarkable suggestion that “What Israel should learn from these events is that it must strive for the survival and bolstering of the current regime at any price.” He argued:

Washington need not go so far as to back Assad in the name of pragmatism. But it should clearly renounce “regime change” as a policy, support an arms embargo, and begin acting in concert with Russia, Iran, the Gulf states and other regional powers to support unconditional peace negotiations with Assad’s regime.

Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War

https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/20/hidden-origins-of-syrias-civil-war/

July 20, 2015

In the early months of the Syrian civil war, the West’s mainstream media presented the conflict as a simple case of good-guy protesters vs. bad-guy government, but the conflict was more complicated than that and the one-sided version only made matters worse, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

Many parties are to blame, but certainly among them are interventionists in the United States and its allies who rationalized supporting the Islamist opposition — and refusing to embrace serious peace negotiations — on the grounds that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a uniquely evil dictator. That image of Assad grew directly out of his regime’s brutal response to civilian protests that began in early 2011, soon after the start of the Arab Spring.

But the convention wisdom — that “the protest movement in Syria was overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011” — is wrong, or at best incomplete. In fact, opposition to the government had turned violent almost from the start, and was likely aimed at provoking a harsh reaction to polarize the country.

A Violent Start

In early April, for example, nine Syrian soldiers on their way to quell demonstrations in Banyas were ambushed and gunned down on the highway outside of town. Western news media suggested they were killed by Syrian security forces for refusing to fire on demonstrators, a fanciful tale that was analyzed and demolished by Professor Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The Failure to Report

Professor Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle east Studies at Oklahoma University, accused the Western press of similarly misreporting a massacre of government security forces in early June, 2011, in the city of Jeser al-Shagour — a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold near the Turkish border — where some 140 members of the police and security forces were slaughtered.

August 2011 – just days before Western leaders called on Assad to quit — Landis rightly predicted that the regime would not simply step aside quietly and let the opposition take over:

“Syria’s divisions are too deep. The fear of revenge and ethnic cleansing will galvanize those who have backed the present order for decades. Had the Syrian leadership been willing to hand over power peacefully or establish some sort of constitutional convention, it would have done so already. The poverty and loss of dignity for so many Syrians is a crushing part of Syrian reality. . . .

But rather than heeding such advice and seeking to promote dialogue and reconciliation, the United States and other Western powers — along with their allies in Turkey and the Gulf states — chose confrontation and a deepening civil war. As former CIA intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi warned in December 2011,

“Americans should be concerned about what is happening in Syria, if only because it threatens to become another undeclared war like Libya but much, much worse. . . . NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. . . . Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi’s army.

“Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.”

What to Conclude?

The deadly provocations against Syrian government forces put an entirely different cast on the origins of the conflict. Furthermore, some human rights organizations also acknowledge that armed opposition forces began committing crimes against civilians by the summer of 2011. In March 2012, Human Rights Watch sent an “open letter” to leaders of the Syrian opposition, decrying “crimes and other abuses committed by armed opposition elements,” including the kidnapping and detention of government supporters, the use of torture and the execution of security force members and civilians, and sectarian attacks against Shias and Alawites.

Western media did not ignore such reports, but significantly underplayed them, no doubt wanting to maintain focus on the larger (and simpler) narrative of Assad’s evil. (In much the same way, Western media sympathetic to the Ukrainian opposition underplayed the role of rightist violence in the putsch that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.)

In choosing to cite human rights selectively as their rationale for regime change, Western governments — including the Obama administration — followed longstanding double standards. Many of the U.S-backed states involved in the anti-Assad campaign, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, have also committed gross human rights violations and war crimes, whether at home or in neighboring territories and states such as Gaza, Yemen and Lebanon.

In Syria as in Libya and Iraq, human rights became a convenient bludgeon for supporting the longstanding ambition of U.S. neoconservatives to topple critical Arab regimes as part of their grand plan for remaking the map of the Middle East. The worthy cause of saving lives perversely enabled a much greater sacrifice of Syrian lives.

History shows that war itself is the greatest threat of all to human rights. Surely our common “responsibility to protect” should start with efforts to limit the start and expansion of armed conflicts, not to inflame them in humanity’s name.

Als weiterführende Lektüre können auch die ausführlichen Kapitel über Syrien im Buch von Jürgen Todenhöfer, Du sollst nicht töten. Mein Traum vom Frieden. 2. Auflage als Taschenbuch München 2015, empfohlen werden, S. 157-230, 255-321.

13:12 17.08.2015
Dieser Beitrag gibt die Meinung des Autors wieder, nicht notwendigerweise die der Redaktion des Freitag.
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Dietrich Klose

Vielfältig interessiert am aktuellen Geschehen, zur Zeit besonders: Ukraine, Russland, Jemen, Rolle der USA, Neoliberalismus, Ausbeutung der 3. Welt
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Dietrich Klose

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